Thursday, September 8, 2011

Perfect Hollandaise Sauce

Over Labor Day weekend there was an Eggs Benedict-off. That's where my brother Brad and I went head to head in the kitchen and each prepared our "famous" Eggs Benedict. Although our family and friends were too polite to name a clear winner, I can truthfully say that this homemade hollandaise sauce won me the championship trophy. So, there wasn't a trophy...but I imagine if there was it would be a bronze whisk covered in this homemade hollandaise sauce.

There are many many variations on hollandaise, this one I find to be the easiest most fool proof version out there. The proportions below will be enough for 4-6 eggs benedict servings.

To read my poached egg tutorial, go here.

Start by melting 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. It's okay if it bubbles, but you do not want the butter to brown, just melt it and keep it warm.

In a  mixing bowl, crack four eggs - discard the egg whites and keep the egg yolks. I almost always separate the eggs and put the egg whites in a mason jar in the fridge for an egg white omelet the next morning. (Or breakfast for dinner, if it's one of those days.)

To the four egg yolks add 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 2 tablespoons of cream, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. (there ARE four egg yolks in there, one split open already) If you don't have limes, use lemon juice.

Whisk fervently.

When the butter is completely melted, take that pot and slooooooowly drizzle the hot butter into the mixing bowl WHILE you are whisking the egg mixture. If you go too fast you could scramble the eggs, so pour about a tablespoon in while you are whisking and then every 20-30 second drizzle some more in. Keep whisking and go slowly. You will see the egg mixture start to double in volume.

Once the butter is incorporated into the egg mixture, pour all of it back into your small saucepan and place back on the stove over low heat. We are almost done!

Whisk almost constantly for a couple of minutes and you will see the hollandaise start to thicken up. Out of all the times I have made this I have always added a bit of warm water and/or more milk/cream to loosen the sauce up a bit. Remember that it will continue to thicken as it cools off, so you want this sauce to be on the thin side in the saucepan. Taste and then adjust to your liking. Do you think it needs more salt? Pepper? Maybe a pinch of cayenne? More cream?

My favorite way to serve this is on a poached egg, on top of ham on top of a crunchy english muffin. However you serve it, serve immediately or hold in a thermos to keep warm. It's absolutely best FRESH, so make the sauce last.

This sauce is great on asparagus or other veggies like artichoke and Brussels sprouts. Hollandaise is also great served with fish or chicken. Add some spices like cayenne and lump crab meat to the sauce to give it a cajun spin. As with all my recipes on this blog, use what you have in your kitchen and make it your own.

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